GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING MUSICIAN WYCLEF JEAN OFFICIALLY WITHDRAWS FROM HAITI PRESIDENTIAL RUN AND APPEAL
The Singer-Activist Will Continue to Work for the Haitian People, But Will Resume Focus on His Legendary Music Career
NEW YORK—Sept. 21, 2010—Grammy-winning Haitian artist Wyclef Jean, dropped several weeks ago from the ballot for the upcoming November elections in his home country, now says he has officially withdrawn his candidacy.
“After weeks of quiet but painstaking reflection with my wife and daughter, I have chosen to end my bid for the presidency of Haiti,” said Jean. “This was not an easy conclusion to reach; but it is one that was thoughtfully made, taking into account many, many competing factors and weighing the course that will best advance the healing of the country and help it find the quickest path to recovery.”
When Haiti’s Provincial Electoral Council released its list on Aug. 20 of whom it deemed qualified to run in this year’s elections, 15 of the 34 who had filed the papers to enter the race for presidency had been dropped from the ballot. Jean, one of those disqualified, accepted the council’s decision, in efforts to respect the rule of law and in order to ensure that his supporters would remain peaceful and law-abiding in the aftermath of the announcement.
Simultaneously, Jean and his representatives filed a legal appeal against the ruling of the council, due to perceived irregularities in the council’s operations. At the time, the singer and his advisers gave as their rationale the desire to ensure that the council was being held accountable and that its processes were made transparent. Not withstanding his interest in a sound, just and fair governance process, Jean is choosing instead to revert his attention and focus to his music. Jean’s new album “If I Were President, the Haitian Experience” is scheduled for release in February 2011, followed by the summer 2011 kickoff of his worldwide tour “The Haitian Experience.”
“Some battles are best fought off the field, and that is where we take this now. Our ultimate goal in continuing the appeal was to further the people’s opportunity to freely participate in a free and fair democratic process,” said Jean. “In that regard, the appeal was meant to improve the electoral process for all, candidates and voters alike. It is one way that I hope to bring light to the functioning of a government that is often ranked as one of the most corrupt on the planet, resulting in a country that is by most measures the poorest in the Western world. It’s not about my candidacy—this appeal was meant to address the shortcomings of the process for every Haitian. Though my run for the presidency was cut short, in this way, I feel it was not in vain; it’s something we can use to improve conditions for my Haitian brothers and sisters.”
Haiti’s presidential election was originally scheduled for earlier this year, but was delayed due to the devastating earthquake that struck the country in January. The quake was particularly destructive in the capital city of Port-au-Prince, where many government buildings, including the presidential palace, were left unusable; while many government workers are estimated to have died in the disaster and election materials lost. (END)
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